Garrett Hardin (1915–2003)

  • Daniel G. Payne
  • Richard S. Newman


After earning his doctorate in microbiology at Stanford University in 1941, Hardin went on to work as a plant biologist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington. In 1946 he took a faculty position at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he taught in the Department of Human Ecology for over thirty years. Much of Hardin’s work was in the field of bioethics, and he played a prominent role in the public debate over issues such as abortion, population control, and immigration reform. The publication of Hardin’s best known essay, “The Tragedy of the Commons,” focused attention on the ecological and ethical dilemmas of population control. His proposed solution to overpopulation, “mutual coercion, mutually agreed upon by the majority of the people affected,” while still controversial, continues to be a touchstone of any debate over the allocation of commonly held resources. Hardin continued to stress the dangers of overpopulation in a number of later articles and books including Avoiding the Tragedy of the Commons (1995) and The Ostrich Factor: Our Population Myopia (1999).


Private Property Invisible Hand Social Arrangement Word Responsibility Optimum Population 
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Copyright information

© Daniel G. Payne and Richard S. Newman 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel G. Payne
  • Richard S. Newman

There are no affiliations available

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